Reprise Of The Triads: Shadowrun – Hong Kong

Shadowrun is returning. Again! I’ve already covered the basics of Shadowrun: Hong Kong, Harebrained Schemes’ next step into the world of fantastical cyberpunk, but the Kickstarter has just gone live so there are plenty of details to wrap that bundle of wires you call a brain around. The video below contains the first glimpse of the game’s isometric interpretation of the setting, unless you count the concept art above, in which case it’s your second glimpse. After the great success of Dragonfall, I’m eager to take another trip into this particular vision of our electronic future.

Harebrained may be returning to Kickstarter for Hong Kong but their approach won’t be the same as for their first Shadowrun game, which was entirely crowdfunded. This time they’re after $100,000 rather than the $400,000 target the first time around. That project eventually raised almost two million dollars. Over to studio co-founder and Shadowrun executive producer Mitch Gitelman to explain the approach this time around:

We’ve already begun development of the Hong Kong game. We’re self-funding the first 12 hours of gameplay at the quality level of Shadowrun: Dragonfall – Director’s Cut. But we have plenty of ideas for features and runs that didn’t fit into our budget. We love Kickstarter and we think there’s no better co-funding partner than our fans to help us take our game to the next level.

The next level is the best level.

As for Hong Kong itself, it’ll have plenty of groovy lighting and an assortment of dangerous societies to navigate.

Set in the magically awakened city of Hong Kong in 2056, players will find themselves exploring the underworld of triads, tongs, wild magic, and bleeding edge cybertech with a crew of flawed, dangerous runners each with their own backstory and special abilities.

I have a feeling that even if I did live in a world of cyborgs and magic, I’d still manage to avoid any triads or flawed, dangerous runners. I’d probably managed to avoid bleeding edge cybertech as well because I’d undoubtedly be skint. The only thing bleeding would be the flesh-port where some back alley hardware merchant had tried to install an espresso machine into my knee. I wonder if cyborgs sometimes need cable ties to hide the loose ends of their cheaper or more cumbersome peripherals? That’d be me, with wires hanging out of my trouser legs, with the sound of a dialup modem having a breakdown regularly emitting from somewhere around my bellybutton.


  1. ChairmanYang says:

    This seems, basically, like an option to pre-purchase for cheaper than the launch price.

    Given how much I liked both Dragonfall and even the original Dead Man’s Switch campaign, I’m in!

    • Continuity says:

      Yep same, no-brainer for me. I see they’re already at double their goal.
      If only more kickstarters delivered like HBS, they gave us exactly what they promised and pretty much on time (if I remember right). They must have some good project management or something.

      • Lim-Dul says:

        Yup, someone should use this example as a case study. Especially considering how in general crowd-funding for games is drying out a bit – projects still get funding but usually not by a huge margin.

        In this case HBS fully delivered on their promises for the previous installments so customer confidence is very high. I mean, what could go wrong? They will be using the same tech (Unity, now even more enhanced), same artists, writers and very similar gameplay mechanics.

        Simply put, if you loved Dead Man’s Switch and/or Dragonfall there’s really no reason for not backing the project. And we should keep in mind that unlike preorders the money you pay up front goes directly into enhancing the product you’ll be getting in the end. AND you can participate in the development process! :)

      • zhivik says:

        I agree completely. I still believe that HBS is one of the few high-profile Kickstarters that have delivered everything they promised. There was a slight delay in the publishing date, but it is mostly because of the additional features added. I think it is high time Kickstarter authors to start adding time estimates for additional features (e.g. feature x will mean three months additional development time), in order not to mislead backers. Apart from that, HBS delivered completely, and I am glad I supported them then, and I have supported them now.

        I believe only InExile can be added to the high-profile Kickstarters that delivered on their promise, even if Wasteland 2 could have been much better. I think Obsidian will most probably join the list, as their development process seems to be quite solid. However, I think HBS remains unparalleled in feedback response – Shadowrun Returns improved vastly from the original campaign to Dragonfall – so I hope more game developers take note of their practices.

    • El_MUERkO says:

      Dead Mans Switch was OK but Dragonfall was a company responding to customer feedback and really fleshing out the gameplay. Hopefully Hong Kong builds on that again.

  2. Shadow says:

    I expect this to exceed the funding goal in no time and the highest stretch goal before much longer than that. The two Shadowrun campaigns these proven quality devs have released are great and I’d gladly welcome further stories!

    • solidsquid says:

      Honestly I wasn’t a huge fan of the plot of Dead Man’s Switch, found it kind of plodding (quite liked the game engine itself). The jump in quality between that and Dragonfall, where they were able to put more focus on the writing, was huge though and they’ve definitely sold me on them being able to put out good quality writing

  3. Rizlar says:

    That last paragraph suddenly reminded me of a dream I had, possibly the result of playing too much Dragonfall and reading Neuromancer for the first time over christmas. Think one of the dodgy body upgrades I had in my dream was literally an espresso machine…

  4. Lars Westergren says:

    No concessions to tablets this time, nice. Personally I would like cyberspace to get an overhaul. More backgrounds, more stuff to interact with, and combat that is more puzzle like, or somehow more distinct from meat space combat. But what they have is enough to get a pledge from me.

    Happily, seems I’m not the only one. Over $20 000 the first 30 minutes.

    Edit: It’s going to be funded within the next half hour, and wouldn’t be surprised if they will have reached what is currently the final stretch goal before I wake up tomorrow. Time to start fantasizing about further stretch goals! As mentioned above, more variety when jacking into cyberspace. More choice and consequences is always nice in RPGs. Like Freud mentions below, finding better equipment by exploring, crafting or quests rather than having auto-scaling shops.
    Ambient sound effects can do great stuff for the mood of a scene, and make the world feel more alive.
    I haven’t tried any player created content yet, but I’m guessing lots of people would be happy with enhanced mod tools.

  5. Vesuvius says:

    I wish there was a way to get additional in-game portraits without having to pay $55 USD.

  6. Freud says:

    I enjoyed Dragonfall but one of my pet peeves about RPGs is when the best items have to be bought instead of found as drops or through playing. I like to be rewarded for exploring by finding things.

    What was even worse was that Dragonfall had the shops get better items as the game went. Inventory shouldn’t level.

  7. Zyrusticae says:

    We’re self-funding the first 12 hours of gameplay at the quality level of Shadowrun: Dragonfall – Director’s Cut.

    Wow. That’s really impressive right off the bat. There’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll hit ALL of their stretch goals before the time is up.

    Though I won’t be backing this (because money is tight), I enjoyed Dragonfall and am really looking forward to this, especially since they’re dropping tablet support this time around. Hopefully that will allow them to pull some really neat tricks for Hong Kong.

    • Rizlar says:

      Yeah, I hope they get back-to-back backed to hell and back, but I probably won’t be putting money up at the moment either, cannot afford to spend too much on too many games. Maybe when the kickstarter is winding down, if they have a really tasty stretch goal…

  8. doma says:

    Aaaand its funded. Took 2 hours. Better get to typing up more goals!

  9. Robert Post's Child says:

    Well that didn’t take long.

  10. oafish-oaf says:

    It’s incredibly rare that I don’t wait for a game to go on sale. It’s even more rare for me to pre-order anything. The idea of Kickstarter seems foreign and irrational to me (as a consumer) and I’ve never bothered with it before. Good god almighty I signed up and backed this within a minute of reading about it, chummer

  11. mvar says:

    Great news! If they address dragonfall’s minor issues (more interaction with the rest of the game world & party members, a longer campaign) i expect this to be one of the best games in 2015.

  12. eggy toast says:

    They’ve lready hit the funding goal, btw.

  13. Treymoney says:

    I spent 30 hours playing through Dragonfall and I loved every minute of it (no, wait, the Matrix still sucks). Why only 12 hours on this campaign? Am I just extremely slow?

    • megazver says:

      They had enough money to self-fund the first 12 hours. More content is what the Kickstarter is for.

  14. steves says:

    “We have elected to focus all our efforts on PC in order to deliver the best game we can without the current processing and memory limitations of tablets”

    Good to know.


    “..a bunch of interface upgrades. These include the ability to decide which team member picks up an item in free-move mode, item swapping between party members, a **player-initiated turn-mode toggle** so you can position your team before you enter combat…”

    It’s like they let me write the spec! Backed.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      That is good. I hope they add right click support too.

  15. caff says:

    Dragonfall had such a strong set of characters and story, and this sounds even more cyberpunky. I am definitely in.

  16. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I’m excited for this and I haven’t even started playing the others.

  17. Squirrelfanatic says:

    2nd guy from the right at 0:10. Some resemblance with that Luca Duerr jerk, no?

  18. airmikee says:

    I just uninstalled Dragonfall Directors Cut last night. Having just played through Wasteland 2, and now starting XCOM:EW, Harebrained Schemes needs to go back to the drawing board and completely redo their combat system from the ground up with a scheme that isn’t so harebrained.

    80% shots should hit 80% of the time, yet time and again, when I run simple tests like reloading the same combat over and over and over again, 80% shots have a 50% hit rate. I get that RNG gods can be cruel, and I get that streaks can happen, but Shadowrun Returns is doing nothing more than fucking lying about hit percentages.

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      It’s possible that you’re right It’s also possible that it’s just a bug with the random seed or the displayed percentages.

      They might listen if you make a bug report, as long as you document every shot’s displayed percentage and whether or not it hit. And as long as you’re *ahem* somewhat more polite to them than you were here.

      Of course, equally you could be completely correct. In which case, thanks for the heads up.

    • Continuity says:

      I don’t know this for a fact but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the success or failure of the shot is determined before you take it, to stop save-scumming, and if that’s the case of course then you would see the same result every time you reloaded.

      • Tacroy says:

        Yeah it’s funny he’s moving on to XCOM because IIRC that’s how the RNG in that game works; saving the game saves the current RNG state, and performing certain actions consumes the next RNG value.

    • fredc says:

      You are about to discover that X-Com does the exact same thing.

    • Contrafibularity says:

      What an odd thing to obsess about, let alone uninstall (ragequit?). Just play the game, it’s truly excellent. So what if the RNG can be cruel? There’s no shortage of ways to increase hit chances, and the fact that die can roll either way is part of what makes the combat fun and it forces the player to abandon their current tactics and positions in favour of a new plan of attack.

      That’s also why you should play it on the hardest difficulty by the way. It’s a shame that difficulty only affects hit chance (at least in SRR and Dragonfall) but it makes for more interesting combat.

  19. kud13 says:

    I have backed this as soon as I was home work, and by that point it cleared half of the initial stretch goals.

    HBS has released a bunch more, including even a possibilty of a revamped Matrix.

    I’m not even done DragonFall DC yet, and i’m already stoked.ever since I first heard about Shadowrun froom randomly finding some Shadowrun novels at a public library, I’ve wanted a game set in the universe. now we got them, and I find them to be awesome.

  20. Laurentius says:

    I still can’t get my head around how SR:Dragonfall flew under the radar, not just general public eye b/c that’s understandable but game critics and writers. They harp for better writing in games for years and bam! where game with one of the best writing in games ( within genere of course ) appeared, no one bat an eylid or showed recognition.

    • fredc says:

      Thanks to Dragonfall, backed this as soon as I heard about it.

      It’s amusing that the one thing they don’t seem eager to re-do is “the matrix” as it’s now the last and final stretch goal with an improbable target, but I’m glad that there is going to be more Shadowrun.

      • Lars Westergren says:

        I wouldn’t assume that putting something as a final stretch goal means they don’t feel like doing it.

        They are currently working on finalizing a list of further stretch (sorry, co-founding) goals in case these gets beaten. One of astral plane travel or stealth mechanics will likely be picked as one of the really high final ones. They said they wanted to include them earlier, but did the numbers and decided those features were out of scope due to time and budget constraints.

    • Philopoemen says:

      Huh? Dragonfall (and Directors Cut) was almost universally praised by the critics for that very reason.

      I can understand how the public missed it though, as it would have appeared as DLC for SR:R, which was had some teething issues.

      And I’m not sure the stretch goals are that unattainable, what given they’ve trebled their goal in the first day (but I have a feeling they low-balled it precisely to generate that sort of “buzz” – smart move if they did.)

      • Laurentius says:

        “Huh? Dragonfall (and Directors Cut) was almost universally praised by the critics for that very reason.”

        Really ? Where ? Sure, game has rather positive reception yes, but that’s all. No spotlight anywhere and that’s the fact. It didn’t make on any list, any personal standpoint and hightlight or any last year recollection. I just finished DA:I, game that is litteraly everywhere and writing in this game is just all over the place, from good to plain awful, while SR:Dragonfall keeps it on very high consistant level.

        • Philopoemen says:

          link to – and that’s just for Dragonfall, not Directors Cut.

          DA:I is going to be everywhere because it’s a cross-platform AAA game, with a massive budget both for the game, and marketing, vs Dragonfall’s PC-centric indie-published game which was largely a thank you to the fans for buying SR:R. Dragonfall was never going to be as visible as something like DA:I, or even D:OS.

          The story (strength and maturity) is something that most of reviewers comment on

          • Laurentius says:

            Yes as I said it, it has positive reception and that’s all. (Though Metacritic also shows that these are mainly smalller sites that give it a go ). It didn’t make on anyone list of game of 2014, on even on list of 2014 with good writing, on list of what we remember of 2014 games etc. No, SR:Dragonfall as DLC or as Director’s Cut may as well doesn’t exists as game critics and bloggers go. It’s hillarious to see these news about SR new campagin and kickstarter project on all gaming sites that didn’t care for this game in the first place and don’t care now as well.

    • Volcanu says:

      It completely passed me by too. Recently I stumbled across some very positive comments about how good it is and did a bit more reading up on it as a result. It’s in my Steam backlog now and I intend to play it as soon as I get a good opportunity.

      But I have to agree – no one in the gaming press seemed to make much of it as far as I recall. If it’s as good as it’s fans claim then that’s a real, real shame.

  21. Lagran says:

    …well, I guess I know which games from my backlog I’m going to be pulling out this afternoon/evening. Bought them last summer (and gifted to a friend) but have yet to get around to it.

    That $15 tier is looking pretty sweet for the soundtracks to me.

  22. Contrafibularity says:

    Didn’t even have to think about backing this as I enjoyed SRR and Dragonfall a lot. I hope this gets backed to unlock all the stretch goals and so they can make it as big as the previous campaigns (hopefully bigger even). Quite look forward to running the shadows in HK. Also hope Gauwu get an honorable mention at least.

  23. Banks says:

    I really enjoyed Dragonfall, In fact I consider It to be the best RPG in ages. Good writing, clean mechanics and zero leveling, looting and all that padding nonsense. I hope however that this time they improve the combat. And honestly, the “matrix” sections were terrible, if they don’t reach the goal to revamp them they should just ditch them completely. No one will miss them.

  24. suibhne says:

    I really love how they’re integrating the tiers with the tabletop documentation, not just perks related to the setting’s digital incarnation. I’m impressed that they’re offering some of the OOP sourcebooks – now if they’d just dig up the Nigel Findley omnibus….

    • Philopoemen says:

      My signed copy of Tir Tairngire is still one of my most cherished gaming possessions. There’s a man that passed way too young.

      • suibhne says:

        It’s pretty frustrating, and a sad treatment of his legacy, that his novels have been unavailable for the last few years. They’re still in such high demand that used copies are nearly non-existent, and there are only a few library copies in the entire US…yet nobody can see fit to work out the rights to re-publish even the ebook editions.

  25. rustic says:

    Now, I liked Shadowrun Returns, and I’m having high hopes for Dragonfall Director’s cut which lies in my pile of shame (can it be called a pile if it consists of…1.5 games?), but as for this Kickstarter, doesn’t $ 50 000 per side mission sound a bit…steep?

    • Contrafibularity says:

      Don’t know about you but I only pledged $15. ;P

      I’m sure they did the maths, so perhaps we can take this as an indication that these “sidemissions” will be more like full-blown missions.